Florida, Southeast to Upper Keys
You don't have to travel across the globe for great sailfish action. The winter/spring fishery seems to be getting better and better, and in fact, has recently been nothing short of spectacular. For example, in January 2009, 24 tournament boats tallied 424 sailfish releases over two days. The fish run pretty small, and the seas can run pretty big (when north winds driven by frontal systems offer the rugged conditions that get sailfish packs tailing down-sea in numbers). From Stuart north, anglers generally troll ballyhoo; to the south, live baits fished under kites or slow-trolled are the norm.
Why You Should Go: Hot sailfishing in country from January into May. The run to fish is often within 10 miles; for some areas (Palm Beach and adjacent) it might be just two or three. No shortage of charters, marinas, etc. At times, many exciting sight-casting/pitch-baiting opportunities.
But... Most sails run 30 or 40 pounds, so fish light. Weekends might get a bit crowded in popular areas offshore.
Contact: Capt. Rick Bradley in Fort Lauderdale, www.marlinmydarlin.com; Capt. Jimmy David on Key Biscayne, www.landhsportfishing.com; Capt. Glenn Clyatt in Key Largo, www.oceanreef.com. (Note: There are many excellent skippers/charters up and down this coast.)